With the talent the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster, the team should be in Super Bowl conversations. But if injuries decimate the roster like they did last season, the only discussion the Cowboys will be in is whether head coach Mike McCarthy is the first to get fired this season.
That could explain the cautious approach the team has taken when players have had injuries during training camp.
Take the well-documented injury to Dak Prescott’s shoulder. The team has preached caution and patience when talking about it. But that has not stopped some media members from speculating and assuming that something must be wrong when Dak Prescott got his second MRI. But the MRI did not show that the injury was more severe than thought. No, the MRI showed that it was healing—which means the team’s cautious approach was working.
“There’s a good chance he probably won’t play. Yes, that’s fair,” head coach Mike McCarthy has said, indicating that the cautious approach is going to continue.
Regardless of the severity of the injury, it makes sense for the Cowboys not to put their $40 million quarterback at risk in a meaningless preseason game. The possibility of him suffering a severe injury is reason enough to keep him out.
The injury to Prescott last season showed how vital he is to the success of the offense. But the issues with the Cowboys offense started before Prescott went down — when the offensive line started to fall apart. As crucial as Prescott is, you could make a case that the offensive line is as essential.
That could explain the Cowboys’ approach when La’el Collins went down with an injury during practice on Wednesday. Collins, who was one of three offensive linemen lost early on in 2020, exited practice with what appeared to be a neck/shoulder injury.
La’el Collins exited practice early after meeting with athletic trainers for what appeared to be a neck or shoulder issue pic.twitter.com/o4riEjutJR
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 18, 2021
But it was not severe enough for him to need to leave the sideline. According to reports, details on the injury have not been released, but it does not appear to be serious.
For Collins, much like Prescott, it is more important he enters the season as healthy as possible. Sure, practice reps can only help to make him better. But it is more important for both to suit up in Week One than during training camp.
That cautious approach does not explain why the team may let Amari Cooper play against the Houston Texans this week. During his time with the media on Tuesday, Cooper said that he wants to play and has been told he will.
“Yeah, I want to play for sure,” Cooper said. “I got word that I was playing.”
If the Cowboys were to stick with the cautious approach across the board, Cooper would not see the field until Week One.